Thursday, June 23, 2011

We’re Finally Alone – Now What Do We Do?

I’m in an awesome men’s Life Group (small group) that meets weekly on Thursdays.  It’s one of the best things that I’ve done to become a better man of God.  Part of the meeting is where we get to share something on our heart for 20 minutes.  It’s affectionately called a Soap Box.  In preparation, I though it would be best to write it out and then present it.

First of all, what are our priorities?  In our Life Group, we have lined them up as 1) God, 2) Spouse, 3) Family, and then everything else will fall in line.  I’m going to focus on the second priority of your spouse.

Part of what I ‘m going to present is something that I blogged about already... the study of your spouse – in my case, Ursulaology.  I really cannot believe that I actually blogged on this topic nearly 4 years ago, but I feel that I need to get it back out there.  Read that blog post… it’s a goodie!

For the last couple of weeks, we discussed the book by Gary Chapman called the Five Love Languages.  This was a huge intro and lead in for my Soap Box.  My Soap Box is all about

It goes without saying, my wife and I are definitely not perfect.  We don’t have the perfect marriage.  You can just ask my kids to find out.  We have a lot of work to do continue toward having an awesome marriage.

Borrowing from the Five Love Language Soap Box, one of the Five Love Languages was Quality Time.  Have you ever been to a restaurant and paid attention to the people around you? You will find four types of people around you.

  1. Singles, who will keep to themselves and occupy themselves
  2. Families, who have their children with them.
  3. Dating couples who look at each other and talk, giving each other their full attention.
  4. Married couples who sit there and gaze around the restaurant. You would think the married couples just went to the restaurant to eat!

When our family went out for lunch together on Father’s Day, I noticed this in action, but with a twist.  I saw a young couple and they were both on the iPhones not even paying attention to the person in front of them.  It used to be that couples would just sit there not saying anything, but now they busy themselves with social media or other real life relationship zappers.

When you date your wife and take her to dinner, use those 30 to 60 minutes of time to give each other your undivided attention and talk this love language. This one can be hard for guys to speak to their wives if they feel the need to provide everything for their family.

finallyaloneI urge anyone that just sits there and stares in space or finds themselves playing Words with Friends or on Facebook when out to dinner with their spouse, to invest in a book.  The book is called We’re Finally Alone – Now What Do We Do? by Gary Johnson.  No, you don’t have to be empty nesters to enjoy this book.  “We’re Finally Alone” is referring to the time at the restaurant or the quiet time that you have reserved for your spouse.

The book is geared to spark conversations that are meaningful and will enrich your marriage and family.  Is it a novel, a self help book, with real world examples to shape up your life? No and no.  It’s a book with 575 questions that are meant for couples to think about themselves, their families, and their relationship with Christ.  No, they’re not all deep & heavy, beat down questions.  :)   They are actually split up into 5 different levels.

  1. Fun ice breaking questions
  2. Time to get a little personal
  3. Self revealing, but nothing too tough
  4. Time to get a bit uncomfortable
  5. Very intimate questions to the point of revealing things about your spouse that you didn’t know

Another way that you can use the book is by topic.  The book has an index of topics that are split up by the following:

  • Communication
  • Dreams and Wishes
  • Family and Parenting
  • Getting Honest
  • Getting to Know You
  • Helping Each Other Grow
  • Personal Opinions
  • Remember and Reminisce
  • Sex and Romance
  • Spiritual Life
  • Troubles and Struggles
  • Working on Marriage

A key to this book is open and honest communications.  Each person must be ready to listen and to be heard. 

You might ask, why in the world would I want to buy a book with just a list of questions.  I truly believe that this book can evoke thoughts and conversations that need to be discussed.  There is so much growth that can be realized by the use of this book.

I feel so strong about this book that I gave it to each member of my life group.

Will this book and the conversations that come from it be totally natural? No, not at all.  I believe wholeheartedly that you must totally rely on His power and not ours.  It’s so much easier to talk about the weather than about real issues.  When it comes down to it, when we act on our own, we will take the easy route, the non-confrontational, the now-growing conversations.  This is especially true after a long day and we just want to slow life down.  However, when we do this, I think we miss the priorities that we lined up in the second paragraph: 1) God, 2) Spouse, 3) Family. We’re giving too much to everything else and not to God and our spouse.

A great friend of mine is pushing me to get out of my comfort zone.  To grow like I’ve never grown before.  This book is one of those things that I need to do with my wife to encourage growth.  I truly hope that you look into getting this book.  You can find a used copy for about $4 or a new copy on Amazon.com for $12.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Great Time at X Factor

2011-06-21 12.35.08Simon Cowell’s show X Factor was in town so we snagged some free tickets and checked it out.  It was more fun than I thought it would be.  I thought it would be a bunch of waiting, but the show did a great job of keeping the audience involved and entertained while we were waiting for the actual show to begin.

It was very cool to see how the show was produced and everything that went into it.  Of course, a bunch of people yelled, “I love you, Paula!”  A few people yelled for Simon as well.

2011-06-21 16.26.06There were about 10 contestants that auditioned and only a couple that were truly standouts.

Everyone had a great time! We cannot wait to see the show in the fall to see if we actually remember the performances.  :)

2011-06-21 12.42.122011-06-21 12.38.14

Trust in Him!

What seems to be the first thing that we do when trouble pops up into our lives?  We stress, we worry, we think of all of the worst case scenarios… we don’t trust in Him!

On Saturday, my family and I were in Gladewater (East Texas) enjoying Ursula’s family reunion.  We had a lot of fun, but I’ll be focusing on an incident that happened.  After breakfast, we were on our way to set up games & activities at the Gladewater High School where the fun times were going to happen.  On the way there, after accelerating above 30mph, the engine light went on in the PT Cruiser.  The car did not want to stay above 30mph and it got all herky-jerky as if it was going to stall.  Crazy!

My head was filled with thoughts of… “oh no, I’m going to have to shell out some big bucks for a dealer or mechanic to fix the car!”, “It’s Saturday, we’re going to be stuck here until Monday as we won’t be able to find a mechanic!”, “Why didn’t the car break down in Frisco!?!”, “Did I change the oil every 3,000 miles?” and on and on.

We limped along to the high school so that we could set up for the activities.  As we’re setting things up, I’m praying and just plainly talking to God.  I felt a calmness that the problem was going to work out.  The biggest thing is that I stopped worrying about what could happen and focused now on resolving the problem.

With the help of a cousin of Ursula’s, we went to an auto parts store and had them pull up the engine code.  It pointed to a specific bad part – a Camshaft Position Sensor.  Yes, I learned about something that I didn’t really care about or at least until now.  We found out that this $35 part could be easily replaced by 2 bolts.  There wasn’t a guarantee that this would fix the problem as it could be a circuitry problem.

Lo and behold, we replaced the part, drove it around and it was fixed!  It made the entire trip back to the Dallas area without incident.  Praise God!  Was all of the worrying that Ursula and I did productive?  Ummm… no!  I like how Jesus put it in Luke 12:25: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”  I want to give my problems and burdens to God sooner.  It’s so much easier when He takes care of them then when I do.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Cairo Rocked his First Race!

248636_10150193627601442_631711441_7419394_4482588_nEver since Cairo expressed an interest to run a Half Marathon in the fall we’ve been training.  Pretty much, we’ve just been building base miles.  He’s up to 3-4 miles comfortably.  Saturday, we finally tested his wheels and got him into a race.  We ran the Dallas Running Club June Bloomin’ 4 Mile Race down at White Rock Lake in Dallas.  Why a 4 mile race instead of a 5K?  We were signed up for a 5K earlier, but school commitments held us back from running it together.

The Wednesday before the race was the first time that he ran 4 miles without stopping.  It took a bit of prodding and encouragement to get him through it, but he did it.  He ran that in 40 minutes.

We had a lot of build up to the race and what to expect.  Stay on the right, don’t worry about others passing us, run our own race, break the distance down into smaller units, hydrate days before the race, etc.  It was great to pass on what others have taught me.

Before the race, I figured that he’d have a time between 39 & 40 minutes.  He totally blew me away with his time of 38:13!  I wanted him to start out slow, but I think he was caught up in the excitement of the start of the race.  I was thinking that we should be closer to 10:00 minutes for the first mile to start out slower.  I had to slow him down over the first 2 miles as I wanted to conserve his energy for the hill at the spillway.  He powered pretty well through the hill and recovered a bit afterward.  He seemed to loose some steam, but surprised me with his last mile.  Below are his split times:

  • Mile 1: 9:26
  • Mile 2: 9:36
  • Mile 3: 9:44
  • Mile 4: 9:09

He was so happy after crossing the finish line.  It was great to experience it with him.  Check out the picture above… love the smile on his face.  Usually he doesn’t have a smile that big.  I love that smile!

Funny thing that he said after the race, “This 4 miles was a lot longer than the one in Frisco!”  He admitted that he wanted to stop, but I’m so glad and I’m sure that he is, that he powered through.

We had fun seeing DRC friends! It was fun hearing Roger yell to Cairo at the end, “Cairo, beat your dad!”  I love it!

I give God all the glory for providing Cairo the ability to run through his asthma and allergies.  His allergies were trying to act up before the race, but subsided.  :)